Forty-one French senators from different political groups have issued a call for the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms in Catalonia. The unprecedented text that they have written condemns the repression of democratically-elected Catalan political representatives and calls for intervention by France and the European Union "to reestablish conditions for dialogue with the aim of finding political solutions to a political problem."
"Our country is a neighbour to Spain and its great Region, Catalonia, with whom we share a long history," state the 41 senators, adding: "Both as Europeans and as Frenchmen and women we are concerned about the grave events that have taken place in Catalonia".
🔴 41 sénateurs français de différents groupes politiques signent un appel au respect des libertés et des droits fondamentaux en #Catalogne Les signataires « dénoncent les répressions » et « demandent que la France intervienne pour une solution politique » https://t.co/9EEtwjkGog— Catalan Gov. France (@Catalonia_FR) March 24, 2019
In this way, they ask for "respect for rights and freedoms in Catalonia", and also condemn the "repression" suffered by the political representatives of the Catalan government who have been imprisoned and forced into exile, stating that this is a "veritable attack against democratic rights and freedoms".
As well, they declare that they "regret" the situation has been "underestimated" in France, and demand that France and the EU "intervene to reestablish conditions for dialogue" and find "political solutions to a political problem".
This is the first time in recent history that in France there has been a declaration of this magnitude in favour of the collective rights of Catalans. It arrives at a key moment, with both Catalonia and Spain immersed in the Supreme Court trial of 12 political and social leaders of the Catalan independence movement, on charges that include rebellion and sedition.
Of the 41 French senators who have signed the manifesto, 16 belong to the Communist, Republican, Citizen and Ecologist Group (all its members); 13 are from the Socialist and Republican Group (out of 74); 4 from La Repúblique en Marche (Emile Macron’s party, from 23); 4 from The Republicans (the right, which holds the majority of the chamber, with 145 seats); 2 from the Centrist Union (from 51) and 2 from the European Democratic and Social Rally (out of 22). The 41 represent all regions of France, including overseas territories, and 12% of the 348 senators.
The full text of the manifesto translated to English can be read here.